[extropy-chat] Maths ability

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Mar 6 04:24:03 UTC 2006

At 06:50 PM 3/5/2006 -0800, you wrote:
>I could be wrong but I think there are times when kid's brains seize
>up over something new to learn that somehow goes against the grain.
>For me it was "imaginary numbers".  I was really good at math (the
>more abstract the better) but my brain rebelled that any of my
>blessed numbers could be "imaginary".  I had to do some serious on
>the spot meditation/psychological rewiring to get past this seizing


If you got past this point you probably got to e(exp)i(pi) = -1

By the time you get to this gem, it is a trivial application of Euler's 
formula http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_formula

Since sine pi is zero and cosine pi is -1.

But to get there takes (typically) 650 pages of a calculous book.

I think it is at least as difficult to understand all the evolutionary 
biology, including inclusive fitness and memetics you need to understand a 
trivial outcome about the root cause of war.

Used this example about lots of complicated stuff leading up to a simple 
statement in an article.  My wife made me take it out saying a comparison 
with 650 pages of math background would run off 99% of potential readers.  :-)

Keith Henson

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